Who do I work for?

In a recent post I pointed out how autonomous the venture business can be. If that’s the case, then, who do I work for?

Brad hired me and I spent several years working directly for him (i.e., supporting him in his investments). He’s still my boss, although we don’t have a traditional reporting relationship (I’m a junior partner – a Principal in our nomenclature – and he’s a senior partner – a Managing Director). I use him as a sounding board and advisor a lot but we don’t really have much of a boss/employee relationship. To some extent I work ‘for’ the other Managing Directors of Mobius but more in the same way someone at a company works ‘for’ their board of directors or their investors. Certainly I work for our investors – my job is to return them more money than they gave us and I have a direct responsibility to be a good steward of their money and trust in us.

More than anything, though, I really work for the management teams of the companies I manage and sit on the boards of. This may seem counter intuitive – as a board member, technically they work for me (and the rest of the board – something that is certainly clear when we’ve made a management changes). I don’t get the feeling that this view is shared particularly widely across the venture community, but I think it’s the right way to look at it. I spend more time with the management teams of the companies I work with than I do with any other group and ultimately everything I do is judged by their success – and by extension, my ability to help them become successful.